The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that Washington State added 24,000 jobs in the month of January alone, and most would say, “Hey, that’s great news!” Instead, economists are saying, “Really?” That number, while very impressive, is also unrealistic. Experts with the state employment Security Department claim that Washington hasn’t seen job growth of that magnitude in over 17 years.
Over the past year, jobs have been growing at a rate of only 5,000 a month. A jump to 24,000 understandably draws much skepticism. Growth is growth, though, and some is better than none. Joe Elling, who is an economist with the state department, told the Associated Press that he believes 24,000 or not, the growth of the economy in Washington looks rosy. In 2012, the state did quite well with employment growth compared to the two years prior, especially in the Puget Sound region, in cities like Seattle and Bellevue. The current unemployment rate is 7.5%. Compared with 8.5% a year ago, it is yet another reason to believe that the future is looking bright for us Washingtonians. Our unemployment rate is lower than the nation’s rate of 7.9% in January.